Monday, May 11, 2009


Unscientific Commentary at NPR

Uh oh! I was listening to an NPR story on the plight of the polar bears (because of global warming), and the reporter explained that the shrinking ice spelled disaster. Some scientists had proposed a refuge area for the bears, while waiting for the climate to cool back down after the appropriate policies had been put in place.

The reporter ended by saying something like, "Although it may be the only option at this point, this would be a terrible fate for the polar bears, who were meant to live on the open sea."

This shocked me. Hasn't she taken high school biology? Everyone knows there is no purpose to evolution. Why oh why can't we have a better press?

I think the real goof here was not the metaphorical use of 'meant to be' (colloquial for: best adapted to), but the silliness of describing the 'open sea' as the natural habitat of polar bears. Polar bear's don't live on the 'open sea'. They are land-dwellers who can swim very well. Frozen ice is, for all intents and purposes, land.
Well, it's possible she didn't say "open." She definitely said "meant to be."
I saw an excellent clip with a certain Bob Carter that explained that if a couple of degrees higher temperatures would kill the polar bears, than this proves that polar bears are in fact illusionary, since they have then gone extinct half a dozen times already.

Or like a famous climate scientist once said when his graph was at risk of being questioned : "We have to get rid of that medieval warm period"
Rob, you`re right that the language used was sloppy, but can`t it be understood as shorthand for "polar bears, who [have evolved specifically] to live on the open sea"?

Are you trying to put this laziness or inconsistency with the principles of natural selection on a par with those who believe that God created us in His own image, and that our purpose is to give Him glory?

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